OK, so the subject of today's gallery is a curious one. Game art by scenesters (some of whom, of course, end up making games between pirating other ones -- though I have attempted to divert genuine game art out of this post, leaving the field exclusively for fans) is an interesting niche -- previously (OMG, the last post in this series went live over a year ago, mea culpa, it's been a very eventful year... and as you can see from the legend, we're only halfway through this series!) we've looked at art made on Commodores celebrating games that were never released for its hardware, and "upgrades" on situations that did clumsily appear in Commodore games. (And, of course, we've PEEKed at the PETSCII renditions of video game characters.) Now we're giving some love to the "splash screens" of these games -- the eye candy logos that displayed while the data was being (chugga chugga chugga) painstakingly pulled (chugga chugga chugga) off an agonizingly copy-protected (chugga chugga ... grind grind grind) floppy diskette. These needed to be eye-popping because game loading could be such a protracted process (start the program, then go to the kitchen and make yourself a sandwich from scratch... begin by mixing the dough to bake the bread) and consequently you would be spending quite a while looking at it... it needed to be sufficiently inspirational such that you wouldn't get discouraged and write off the whole venture of Golden Age computer gaming (likely quite correctly) as a waste of your time. The artists didn't always hit the mark. Maybe they lacked good reference materials, maybe they were converting assets generated to play to the strengths of other platforms, maybe they just plain ran out of time. Whatever the reason, many games' splash screens were not their best selves -- but fear not, the doodlekids (of all ages) of the scene have stepped in to correct this failing, and give the games the superior art -- sometimes better matching the game's box -- that they deserved and which could have been technically possible, if not for circumstances.
For instance, here two separate artists (I've hidden their credits in the image filenames... it looks like they go by "Ivan" and "Crossbow", respectively) have taken their turns improving the in-game C64 art for Interplay's 1989 "Dragon Wars", yielding screens that hew closer to the game box's Boris Vallejo artwork than the version that eventually turned up in the game itself:its box art: a gamebook fan, this one strikes my fancy doubly: Kev enhances the start screen to the loose video game adaptation of the first book in the Way of the Tiger series, Avenger!, hewing a little closer to the box art: its box art, that didn't end up in the final product: its box art that shows us that space can really be rough on a ship's hull: the in-game splash screen, getting closer to its box art: the version that shipped, but there are substantial differences in the nuances. the box art than the somewhat spare version in the final product), looking like he's on the verge of an Incredible Hulk or Sláine transformation into a rain of physical destruction. box art scene that ended up shipping. its box art: The existing splash screen isn't bad, but this is quite a bit closer to the box art.) the loading screen for The Pawn was mere text. (The actual pictures in the game were quite nice.) This is the loading screen it deserved but never got (at least -- not in time to be useful! But better late than never, STU!) the existing splash screen for Sanxion (an adaptation of its sweet box art -- Thalamus had a good designer on staff!) ... after attempts by Rob and SIT, only the third of them by irage manages to achieve the feat! the box art for Accolade's 1990 Star Control 1. (Didn't know it was ever released in an 8-bit as well as 16-bit flavour? The truth is fascinating and bizarre -- here an author writes (geez, nearly 15 years ago now) about the gameplay (and esp. team line-up) changes between different ports of the game, in-character as a human historian on Earth under the slave shield.) box art, down to the peculiarly affectated hand gestures: the loading screen to Thrust. the likeness of him in the game, though there's a greater chance digitization was involved, I suppose.